Supporting Obama is Common Sense for Rappers, Fans
YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia, Commentary//Video Stills////, Jazmyne Young Posted: Mar 01, 2008
Editor's Note: At a recent show in San Francisco A-List rapper/actor Common rocked the house with a musical message of political action. Many figures in the rap world have signed on to Obama's campaign creating a cottage industry in the viral universe. Jazmyne Young, 19, is a content producer at YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia.
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Common’s Valentine’s Day performance at the Mezzanine in San Francisco was one of the best concerts I’ve been to. Aside from being completely sold out, so fans lucky enough to get tickets were crammed onto the dance floor like sardines, all of the minor inconveniences were well worth the experience of seeing such a masterful display of artistry. The highlight of the show came when he gave a high-energy performance of his song “Testify” during which he literally tossed a stool around the stage.
VIDEO:Exclusive concert footage and video report on Common at the Mezzanine
This is a streaming MP4 video - you'll need Quicktime 6 or later to view it.
Common first caught my attention with his song “The Light”, but gained my unadulterated adoration with his album, "Be". His latest work, "Finding Forever" along with his recent roles in some very high profile movies, has catapulted him into complete A-list Celeb stardom.
AUDIO: The Light
(4m 10s, mp3, 8.0MB) Download File
But what really stood out was when Common (aka Common Sense) took a moment to do some political campaigning during his set. “I don’t usually get involved with politics, but when I see a candidate that’s really for the people and about making a change I gotta support him, so I want ya’ll to get out there and vote for Barack Obama, support him ya’ll,” he said from the stage.
Common, from Chicago Ill. -- Obama's home state, has been very open in his support of the senator, giving him a shout out in his song “The People” where he says “My raps ignite the people like Obama,” along with his recent appearance in Will.i.am’s video “Yes We Can,” which features an impressive league of celebrities singing the words to a speech given by Obama in South Carolina.
“Yes We Can,” which appeared on YouTube about three weeks ago, has over five million views. Aside from Common and Will.i.am, Obama receives support from actor Hill Harper, Nick Cannon, John Legend, and Scarlett Johansson among others. One blogger, made a joke asking if Will.i.am is vying for a spot in Obama’s cabinet because he’s back at it again, and right on time for the Ohio and Texas primary, with the release of a second video called “We Are the Ones” which features Will.i.am – of course – along with Zoe Kravitz, Kerry Washington, Tyrese, Jessica Alba, Regina King, and Ryan Phillippe.
Instead of reciting the words to a speech, in this video the celebs give short testimonials on what they find inspiring about Obama. In the video, television actor Tichina Arnold says: “He stands for not just black people, but all people – he’s almost like a reviver for a lot of people’s souls.”
Obama is also receiving support from Asian American rapper Jin. First appearing on BET’s 106th and Park in 2001, in a segment called “Freestyle Friday,” Jin was inducted into the show’s Hall of Fame after winning the weekly freestyle battle six consecutive times. After signing to Virgin Records he became the first Asian American solo rapper to be signed to a major record label. Jin’s song “Open Letter to Obama” is rapped in the style of a letter written to the candidate telling him how much Jin supports his efforts and believes in his campaign. Hip Hop fans have begun to follow suit posting their personal raps in support of Obama. A parody of the Shop Boyz song “Party Like a Rockstar” features the “Obama Boyz” with their song “Party like Barack” with over 8,000 views.
How much influence is Hip Hop having on Obama’s campaign? With the endorsement of Oprah, he already has the homemaker vote on lock and because of people like Common's support, Obama won my vote.
It is reaffirming to see an artist, whose opinion I value and respect, who admits to being skeptical about politics like me, endorse Obama. It would appear as if not only the Hip Hop community, but all of the youth who are heavily influenced by the music have spoken: “Barack the Vote.” This statement has been made clear with the record-breaking numbers of youth showing up at the polls and casting their vote the Obama way.
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